Saul Zaentz

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Saul Zaentz, Oscar-Winning Filmaker And Music Producer, Dead At 92


Saul Zaentz

Saul Zaentz passed away at his home in San Francisco on Friday, 3 January, the Associated Press have confirmed. The multi-talented Oscar winner was lucky enough to lead a full life, living to the ripe age of 92, but sadly his passing did come after a serious and tragic battle with Alzheimer's disease, a disorder he had been battling for a number of years.

AmadeusEnglish Patient
Amadeus and The English Patient are two of Zaentz most well-received works

Zaentz was born in Passaic, New Jersey, on 28 February, 1921, and went on to study at Rutgers University, where he left with a degree in poultry husbandry, before being shipped to Africa and then Sicily to serve in the Second World War. Whilst on deployment he was also stationed aboard troop ships in the North Atlantic and Pacific. Zaentz death was confirmed to the AP by his nephew, Paul Zaentz, who also served as his longtime business partner.

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Goya's Ghosts Review


Terrible
There are always clear-cut signs: a solid cast with no buzz, a good director but no release date, a topical film with a PR campaign that could best be described as non-existent. To say nothing of the fact that the first it was heard of was roughly a year ago, Milos Forman's Goya's Ghosts has its ineffectiveness in the bloodstream and appears to have been released solely on name cred.

Forman, the Czech madman, began his career with sublime studies in New Wave dynamics, most memorably with 1965's Loves of a Blonde and 1967's sublime The Fireman's Ball. Now, after Cuckoo's Nest, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and that ridiculous role in Keeping the Faith, Forman seems to have jettisoned over to the other side of the spectrum. While most of Forman's American fare at the very least holds the faintest whiff of provocation, Goya's Ghosts seems shackled to a supremely-uninteresting story without even a glimmer of spontaneity. Seriously, hasn't it already been proven that all art is inspired by women and all women are evil? Isn't it time to move on? Not according to Forman.

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Amadeus: Director's Cut Review


Essential
There's a moment early in Amadeus when court composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) wanders through a crowded salon in search of the famed prodigy known to him by reputation only: Mozart. Inspecting each young musician, he looks for some outward sign of genius: the "man who had written his first concerto at the age of four, his first symphony at seven, and a full-scale opera at 12."

Soon after, we and with Salieri first lay eyes on Mozart - not the halo-crowned demigod built up in music history classes, but instead a mischievous, arrogant vulgar puck with a cackling laugh. But Milos Forman's stunning epic didn't win eight Academy Awards for simply reducing classical music royalty to child-like stature.

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The English Patient Review


Excellent
Just so you know, "patient" refers to a man with a medical condition, not the ability to sit through a film that flirts with a three hour running time.

You think I'm kidding, but I'm serious -- The English Patient has got to be the longest romance movie I've ever seen [This was before Titanic. -Ed.]. Well, Out of Africa was awfully long, too, but that doesn't make it okay! (Like your mother might say, "If Meryl Streep jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?")

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The Mosquito Coast Review


Excellent
One of Harrison Ford's most underrated features, The Mosquito Coast features Ford as a near-psychotic guy destined to leave America behind to settle his family in Nicaragua to start fresh. Part Robinson Crusoe, part Indiana Jones, the tale spun here is one hell of a ride, filled with ups and downs, friendly natives and criminals, and a very odd preacher who throws a wrench into the proceedings. A definite after-midnight must-see.

Amadeus Review


Essential
He was the first. All right, he wasn't the first. But he was the first to make such a fuss about it. Mozart was the first of all writers to be completely arrogant... and completely controlling, about his work. In this he was not exactly the first. He was, however, the first writer to be right in his self-assessment. Mozart had God's gift, and he treated it so arrogantly that it became his downfall.

Amadeus is the story of Mozart (Hulce), the composer with God's gift and the Devil's audacity, and Salieri (Abraham), the composer with God's pity and the Devil's vengeance. In Vienna, Salieri embarks on a jealous quest to bring Mozart to his knees, and, ultimately, his death.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Review


Extraordinary
When I first watched The Unbearable Lightness of Being, I was dating a poet who had read and loved the book. Not wanting to involve myself in reading the book at that point, I rented the movie instead. I loved it then and I love it now, but, at this point in time, I can compare it to the novel by Milan Kundera. The two are both vastly similar and vastly different. As an adaptation, it succeeds in transcribing the events of the novel, but does not do as well in successfully demonstrating its points.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being focuses on Tomas (Daniel-Day Lewis), a Don Juanist terrified of commitment and a surgeon at a Prague hospital. He is trapped between his platonic and semi-erotic love of Teresa (Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche), a photographer and his wife and a erotic and semi-platonic love of Sabina (Lena Olin), a painter and his mistress.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Review


Essential
Nicholson went nuts in The Shining, but he did the time in Cuckoo's Nest as a rough-and-tumble felon looking to escape hard prison by spending a little quality time in a psychiatric institution. Little does he realize his phony illness is about to get him into all kinds of trouble. Louise Fletcher's Nurse Ratched, however, is the character who has since entered into the American lexicon, as have a host of other characters and scenes (most memorably: Nicholson's narration of a World Series game that's not on TV). Faithfully adapted from Ken Kesey's stirring novel.

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The Lord of the Rings (1978) Review


OK
Relax, Tolkien nerds, the insanely anticipated live action trilogy of The Lord of the Rings isn't already out on video. Rather, it's Ralph Bakshi's animated version from 1978, now making a new appearance on VHS and DVD.

This film tells the story from The Fellowship of the Ring and some of The Two Towers, leaving the finale for The Return of the King, produced in 1980. Made for a reported $10 million, the film reportedly earned seven times that theatrically -- despite the fact that half of it is a jumbled mess (reputedly because director Ralph Bakshi didn't even finish the movie). All of which goes to show: Tolkien fans will sit through anything. More than once.

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Saul Zaentz

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